9 Jul 2004

Nauru tells Kiribati it will pay outstanding wages to foreign workers

1:24 pm on 9 July 2004

The Nauru Government has today promised it will pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars owing to unpaid foreign workers stranded on the island.

Nauru's new president, Ludwig Scotty, made the pledge at a meeting in Kiribati with the country's President, Anote Tong.

Mr Tong and his Tuvaluan counterpart, Saufatu Sopo'aga, have hit out over the treatment of hundreds of their workers, with Mr Sopo'aga likening it to slave labour.

Mr Tong says however that he is confident that Nauru will honour its debts.

"The Nauru Government has made a commitment to pay the arrears of salaries to I-Kiribati and other nationals in Nauru"

Mr Tong says it is unclear exactly how much money is owing to workers and there has been no deadline set for Nauru to pay the salaries.

He says the Kiribati Government is keen to work with Nauru on the matter and help it secure donors to lift it out of its financial crisis.